Thursday, July 21, 2005

Beam Him Up God
'Star Trek' Engineer James Doohan Dies

LOS ANGELES -- James Doohan, who played engineer Montgomery Scott, the scrappy Scotsman who repeatedly gave the Starship Enterprise "all she's got" in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures, died Wednesday. He was 85. James Montgomery Doohan was born March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, the youngest of four children of William Doohan, a pharmacist, veterinarian and dentist, and his wife Sarah. As he wrote in his autobiography, "Beam Me Up, Scotty," his father was a drunk who made life miserable for his wife and children.

At 19, James escaped the turmoil at home by joining the Canadian army, becoming a lieutenant in the artillery. He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. "The sea was rough," he recalled. "We were more afraid of drowning than the Germans."

The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he usually managed to hide the missing finger on the screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. The chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.